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Honey

Most people know honey is delicious. On toast or hot buttered crumpets especially! Honey has been an important food source for people all around the world for millennia.

Today honey is often used in cooking and baking as well as being a natural sweetener used in hot drinks. Most commercial honey is blended – a combination of two or more different honeys made from different flowers. Some honey is polyfloral – where the bees have access to lots of different wild flowers. Some beekeepers locate their hives in areas where only one type of flower grows. This results in monofloral honey, such as heather honey from Yorkshire.

Honeycomb with honeybees
Natural Honey in the Hive

Honey is made by bees from nectar collected from flowers. The bees process the honey, by consuming and regurgitating it, before storing it in the wax honeycomb. Excess water is evaporated, reducing the water content. This means the honey can be stored without fermenting for a long time. The honeycomb is capped with wax to protect the honey. Bees eat honey themselves, during cold weather.

A single beehive generally houses between 20,000 and 40,000 bees. Between them they will produce an average of 29kg of honey per year. Each bee will visit thousands of flowers each day. Generally flying up to a mile from their hives, honey bees have been known to fly up to 5 miles to find food!

Honey has a significance in world religions. In Ancient Greece it was said that the food of Zeus and the 12 Gods of Olympus ate honey. Honey also has a strong presence in Judaism due to the many references to honey in the Torah. Biblical references to honey include the description of Isreal as the land of “milk and honey”. The book of Proverbs encourages the consumption of honey, but also that “It is not good to eat too much honey” (Proverbs 25:27).

As well as being a valuable food source, honey has also been used as a natural remedy for thousands of years. Evidence suggests that applying honey to wounds and burns can speed up the healing time. Honey has well-documented antibacterial properties. There has been renewed interest in this aspect of honey due to the increase in antibiotic resistance in recent years. The World Health Organisation recommend honey as a treatment for coughs and sore throats. We use honey in our Propolis & Honey Throat Spray as well as our Propolis Syrup.

Whilst evidence for many folk remedies can be inconclusive, there is strong evidence to support the antibacterial properties of honey. However, because it is a natural product which varies from region to region, standardising its use as a medicine is difficult. We have selected a range of research papers which support the use of honey as a natural remedy. Please explore the research for yourself. Modern science is finally unlocking the hidden secrets of nature’s medicine cabinet!

Research Papers

Coming soon.